Which Type Of Bird Feeder Do You Need?
Wild birds, particularly those which will visit your backyard or garden, come in all sizes and shapes.
This means that have their own preferences for the type of food they like.
It will also mean that you should give some thought to the type of bird feeder to use, based on the sorts of birdlife common in your area and the bird species you are looking to attract to your yard.
Essentially the questions you need to answer are:
• What kind of birds are likely to visit your backyard?
• What is their preferred diet and do they have any specific feed requirements?
The Different Types Of Bird Feeders
Whether you just want to turn your yard into a beautiful sanctuary for birds, or you want to enjoy a variety of birds from the window of your home, placing bird feeders in the backyard is a great idea.
Attracting birds is not hard, especially if you know the right bird feeder to use for the right bird. Birds eat in varying locations.
Harris sparrow, white crowed sparrows, juncos and towhees will prefer to eat off the ground while chickadees and finches love hanging or pole mounted feeders.
For this reason, there are many different types of bird feeders designed to attract different species of birds and to suit different types of food.
Let’s take a look at the main types of bird feeders that can help you turn the backyard into a bird orchestra.
Platform feeders are open trays that can easily be filled with nuts, seeds, scraps or any other type of food that can attract birds. They are the simplest bird feeders available and most appealing to many birds as feeding birds are able to keep a sharp eye for any approaching predator.
They allow large birds to perch and hop in the feeder tray easily due to their large surface area. To provide a perch and contain food properly, the feeder should have a slightly elevated edge and a removable screen bottom to facilitate drainage and cleaning.
Platform feeders vary in sizes and heights and are available as hanging designs or free-standing units. They are common and a favorite of many, because they can be made from various items materials you may have on hand. These feeding stations are preferred by sparrows and juncos.
Wood Hopper Feeders
A hopper feeder is characterized by a central reservoir designed to dispense food to the feeding tray as birds eat. The seed is well protected from rain, wind and snow and makes this feeder more convenient for all weather.
In order to attract large numbers of birds, a good hopper feeder should have multiple dispensing stations and a large reservoir that can hold generous amounts of food.
Since the reservoir is to be refilled frequently, the access should be easy and safe.
Its a big help if you can see the seed level from outside to save constantly removing the lid to see the levels.
Wood hopper feeders come in a wide range of styles and sizes, from simple and basic to elaborate decorative models.
Most styles can be hung from tree branches or hooks while free-standing ones can be attached to a vertical pole.
Mockingbirds and chickadees love eating from raised feeders and will tend to prefer the hopper type of feeding unit.
Tube feeders are customized hopper feeders designed to attract small songbirds and finches. Birds feed directly from the seed reservoir through feeding port on the tube instead of a dispensing tray. A clear reservoir that will make the seeds visible to birds and facilitate refilling goes, a long way in attracting the lovely songbirds.
The tube should have the ability to hold seeds of different sizes and have multiple perches and ports to accommodate a number of birds.
Feeding stations are covered to protect the seed from moisture which can result to formation of molds.
Common models include sock and mesh feeders that are mostly hung from hooks and tree branches.
Some tube feeder’s designs allow a dish to be mounted at the bottom to allow cardinals to perch. Adding a dish is a great idea to give some options for birds which may be too small to perch on the built in perches.
Suet is a nutrient rich bird food that contains a high fat content. Suet is perfect bird food for the cold months of winter because its energy-rich content, when some other food sources are not available.
Starlings, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and jays are all partial to suet. Cardinals will also visit a suet feeder on occasions.
Most designs come with a plastic or a wire cage that surrounds the suet cake and keeps it in place. An upside-down suet feeder that only allows clinging birds to attach, helps to keep away blackbirds or starlings.
Commercial suet cakes will contain other things like seed, peanuts, cornmeal and even dried insects.
Since the lovely hummingbird consumes only nectar, a special type of feeder is required for hummingbirds. It dispenses a pre made sugar and water mixture. If these birds are common in your area, it is very rewarding to set up some feeders and enjoy their antics.
Cage or Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Squirrels present an ongoing problem with any type of bird feeder, so there are some ingenious methods employed to protect the food from these pesky little critters.
Not only do they eat the seed, sometimes they even damage the feeder itself, so choose your bird feeder wisely if squirrels are common in your location.
Some employ perch areas that are weight sensitive and will support the birds, but will collapse with the weight of a squirrel.
Another common form of protection is to enclose the feeder inside a cage.
Alternatively, like the one in the image, the surface is non grip and the animal simply slides off.